Returning to her homeport of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Celebrity Summit managed to carry out a rescue operation by rescuing three refugees stuck on a raft off Cuba.
Guests on the open decks spotted the raft, prompting the ship to change course so they could head for the small raft. Due to the windy conditions, the sea had been choppy, as shown by multiple eyewitness reports online. Despite these conditions, the crew and officers managed to board the three lucky survivors.
Celebrity Apex picks up three people from a raft
Cruising to her home port in Florida, Celebrity Summit guests spotted a little lackluster Friday night. The small boat was carrying three Cuban refugees on board. As is customary for all ships, the famous cruise ship quickly changed course to offer assistance.
Celebrity Apex The captain turned around and positioned the small raft on its lee side. At that time, the three refugees were able to be safely picked up. In videos posted on social media, the small size of the raft puts into perspective the danger the three were exposed to, while the lackluster took on significant amounts of water.
It’s also surprising and fortunate that guests were able to spot the raft in the first place. In a video uploaded, the small raft barely stands out among the waves. The raft did not have the highly visible orange or yellow color that lifeboats and rafts come with, but it was white.
After the rescue operation, the three refugees were taken on board and given the necessary water, food and medical care. What happens next with all three remains to be seen. Often, refugees or people involved in shipwrecks who are recovered from international waters will be returned to their country of origin.
The ship was returning to the home port
The events that took place on board Celebrity Summit happened as the ship returned to its home port, Port Everglades. Guests enjoyed a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise, which departed Fort Lauderdale on February 19.
After visits to Nassau, Belize City, Cozumel and Costa Maya, the rescue took place as the vessel sailed through the area between Cuba and Florida at 5:35 p.m.
It is not the first time that a similar event has taken place. Every year, many people try to cross the Florida Strait or the Mediterranean to reach Europe from Africa.
The dangers are significant and many lose their lives every year. Under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) agreements, sailors are required to assist any vessel in distress, including small dinghies on the high seas:
The master of a ship at sea who is able to render assistance upon receipt of information from any source indicating that persons are in distress at sea, is obliged to proceed with all diligence to their assistance if possible, informing them or the search and rescue service that the vessel is doing so.
Over the past few months and years, we have seen several rescues involving cruise ships, including when Carnival paradise saved a sailor of a sinking boat near Cozumel. Too, Carnival Fantasy rescued a total of 23 people who were adrift at sea on a damaged boat in the Caribbean.